Humanitarian Borderwork? : An Analysis of Frontex’s Discourses and Practices

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Humanitarian Borderwork? : An Analysis of Frontex’s Discourses and Practices

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dc.contributor.author Wærp, Eline
dc.contributor.editor Hellström, Anders
dc.date.accessioned 2019-12-17T09:51:15Z
dc.date.available 2019-12-17T09:51:15Z
dc.date.issued 2019 en_US
dc.identifier.isbn 978-91-7877-054-0
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2043/30744
dc.description.abstract The concept of ’humanitarian borderwork’ (Pallister-Wilkins 2017) entered the social sciences the last couple of years, in the wake of the 2015 migration crisis to the EU. With roots in the ’humanitarian border enforcement’ discourse (Williams 2016) that developed in the US post-9/11, the concept suggests that the goals of ‘migrant safety’ (i.e. human security) and ‘border control’ (i.e. state security) are mutually attainable. This ‘humanitarian-security’ (Andersson 2017, De Lauri 2018) or ‘safety/security’ (Williams 2016) nexus casts increased border control as not the cause of, but the remedy to, migrants’ vulnerability and death. ‘Humanitarian borderwork’ further implies a convergence between two seemingly distinct concepts: ‘humanitarianism’ and ‘borderwork’ (Walters 2011). Whereas ‘humanitarianism’ has traditionally been associated with a concern for humanity, human rights, alleviation of suffering, and the principle of ‘do no harm’; ‘borderwork’ has been preoccupied with exclusion, control, security and monitoring/surveillance (Pallister-Wilkins 2015b). And whereas humanitarian action has traditionally been carried out by depoliticized, independent actors (notably NGOs) with the sole purpose of providing humanitarian assistance (Redfield and Bornstein 2011); humanitarianism is now increasingly being delivered by (supranational) state-actors, such as the EU’s Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) – which claims to be just as preoccupied with saving lives as protecting the EU’s external borders. This begs the questions: are ‘humanitarianism’ and ‘borderwork’ compatible concepts? And if so, in the case of the EU, how humanitarian is Frontex’s borderwork? Informed by a literature review of the genealogy of the concepts of ‘humanitarianism’ and ‘humanitarian borderwork’, the paper problematizes the latter and seeks to answer those questions by analyzing and comparing Frontex’s humanitarian discourses and practices to the understanding of humanitarianism within anthropology – a field that has studied it extensively. The paper thus provides part of the literature review and theoretical- and conceptual framework for the dissertation, to be complemented with more empirics at a later stage. Arguing that while Frontex’s ‘humanitarian borderwork’ fails to meet the criteria in the traditional understanding of humanitarianism, it does succeed in situating itself within the ‘new humanitarianism’ (Nascimento 2015) that emerged after the end of the Cold War – where state actors play a larger role, and militarization and securitization of borders increasingly shape humanitarian action. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher Malmö University, Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare (MIM)
dc.relation.ispartofseries MIM Working Paper Series;19:3
dc.subject Humanitarian borderwork en_US
dc.subject Frontex en_US
dc.subject Discourses and practices en_US
dc.subject New humanitarianism en_US
dc.subject.classification Humanities/Social Sciences en_US
dc.title Humanitarian Borderwork? : An Analysis of Frontex’s Discourses and Practices en_US
dc.type Report en_US
dc.identifier.paperprint 0 en_US
dc.contributor.department Malmö University. Faculty of Culture and Society en_US
dc.identifier.doi 10.24834/9789178770540
dc.subject.srsc Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES en_US
dc.contributor.centre Malmö University. Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare (MIM) en_US
mahlocal.rights.eplikt Yes en_US
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